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Press release

Climate Groups Slam Citi’s ‘Greenwashed & Piecemeal’ Emissions Announcement

No change in policy from Citi

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March 2, 2023

Citi’s announcement today on sectoral emissions targets is “greenwashed and piecemeal” and does not go far enough in meeting climate community expectations or what scientists warn is desperately needed to address climate change, say US climate groups.

Citi published 2030 decarbonisation targets for coal, steel, auto, real estate but the bank still maintains loopholes that allow it to fund existing clients involved in coal and it still has policies that allow money to be pumped into oil and gas expansion.

Citi has a huge onus to make drastic changes to its funding of fossil fuels. It is the second biggest funder of fossil fuels in the world, it is the biggest funder of fossil fuel expansion in Africa and it is the biggest funder of state-run fossil fuel projects in the Amazon. A report in January showed shockingly low financial support by Citi for renewable energy: just 2% of its overall energy financing.

By contrast, Citi’s peers in Europe are taking their climate commitments further. HSBC in December announced it would stop directly financing new oil and gas fields and related infrastructure anywhere in the world.

Shawna Foster, spokesperson for Rainforest Action Network’s said:

“Citi is creating another loophole for it to be pals with fossil fuel companies while trying to appeal to consumers who want it to make a real commitment on climate. Their announcement is only about restricting lending, and only on coal, which means they can continue business as usual and not make meaningful progress on reducing emissions. Furthermore, the banking industry has fought tooth and nail against a standardization on emission reductions, so it’s pitiful that they’d use the lack of standards as a reason why they can’t take action that would help a lot of communities on the front lines of climate chaos.”

Richard Brooks, Stand.earth Climate Finance Director, said:

“As the world’s second biggest fossil fuel funder, Citi’s attempt to greenwash piecemeal announcements is just further delay and distraction. Ahead of shareholder season and two years after committing to net-zero, this is nothing more than an attempt to distract from Citi’s big climate problem: continued financing for oil and gas expansion. The world cannot afford more tar sands, fracked gas pipelines, or offshore drilling rigs. Science and justice demand a rapid scale down of fossil fuel financing and jump in funding for climate-safe solutions.”

Alec Connon from Stop the Money Pipeline said:

“Communities are sick of empty announcements and reneged commitments from Citi. This is the same bank that acknowledges its global reach means it has a particular onus to lead on climate. But instead of leading, Citi is standing in the way of progress as a mega bank that refuses to end funding for the expansion of fossil fuels. Today’s statement is an empty, rhetoric-filled update that serves as an excuse as to why the planet and communities devastated by climate change must continue to wait while Citi makes huge profits.”

Rachel Rivera from New York Communities for Change said:

“Citi may have its headquarters in New York but today’s statement shows the little regard the bank has for the communities here, which suffered desperately in recent years through dreadful storms and flooding. Small announcements on side issues is not what our community expects, we want Citi to get out of coal altogether and to stop lending and underwriting on oil and gas expansion. We want to see plans on how and when this will happen. Anything else is just meaningless drivel.”

Svitlana Romanko of Razom We Stand said:

“It is bitterly disappointing to read a statement citing Russia’s war in Ukraine as a reason for Citi to keep up its commitment to fossil fuel financing into the future. The war is, in fact, a reason why we might not have a future at all. Fossil fuels incite wars, enmity and terror and now is the worst time to finance fossil fuels in history. The reality is that Europe is rapidly moving towards renewable energy and the US has got a domestic law in place that will boost clean energy over fossil fuels. Citi is refusing to turn away from an industry so loved by fossil fuel dictators like Putin. The bank is profiting from the war crimes of a terrorist petrostate, the suffering of Ukrainians caught up in Russia’s fossil fuel stranglehold and communities everywhere dealing with climate change related events.”

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Press Contact: Judith Crosbie, [email protected], +1 929 584 3344

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